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Virtual Workshop

Interpreting Idioms and Cultural References

March 13, 2021 / 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST

Interpreters invest a significant amount of time in learning professional terminology, such as terminology related to medical, legal, educational, or social services, as well as the ins and outs of the U.S. health care, school, and criminal justice systems—and rightly so. However, interpreting in these settings involves more than Latin-based legal terms, dense medical jargon, or educational abbreviations. You’ll also be expected to interpret small talk, stories, jokes, idioms, and cultural references.

Interpreting idioms and cultural expressions may seem less important than getting the medical facts right, but they often contain key messages, such as descriptions of a patient’s progress (or lack thereof) as well as their attitudes about the situation. In fact, being able to understand and deal with colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions in your working language(s) is an essential part of a professional interpreter’s skill set.

This 2-hour interactive workshop will introduce participants to the types of idiomatic and cultural expressions commonly encountered in spoken discourse and engage them in a discussion of the strategies for interpreting. Participants will be able to apply their newly acquired skills through small group discussions and practice activities.

Special Notes

  • This workshop is presented in Russian.
  • This workshop is limited to 30 attendees.

What will you learn?

  1. Types of idiomatic expressions commonly encountered in spoken discourse
  2. Examples of cultural references
  3. Common mistakes interpreters can make with idiomatic expressions
  4. Strategies for interpreting idioms
  5. Strategies for interpreting cultural references

About the Presenter

Yuliya Speroff is the medical interpreter supervisor at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, as well as a Russian-English CoreCHI™- and WA DSHS-certified medical and social services interpreter. She is based in Seattle, Washington. She began interpreting more than 10 years ago in her hometown of Novosibirsk, Russia. She has since interpreted in a variety of settings—from a fighter jet factory to real-time brain surgery.

Yuliya has an MA in business management and is certified as both an English and a Russian language instructor with more than 10 years of teaching experience.

Register Now!


March 13, 2021
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST
Event Categories:
Presenter(s): Yuliya Speroff
Duration: 2 hours
Presenting Language(s): Russian
Level: All
ATA CEPs: 2.0
Other CE Points: CCHI = 2.0

Code of Conduct

ATA is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all participants. By registering for this event, you agree to abide by the Code of Conduct for Virtual Programs.



American Translators Association

Event Type


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